On Sunday, April 22nd, the world will join together to celebrate the beloved holiday known as Earth Day. It is a time where we can reflect on how our actions affect Mother Earth. Just about every activity we engage in can be improved in some way, and those improvements can keep this big blue ball that we call home rotating for the long haul. Even scuba diving correctly can be good for the Earth. Here are a few ways that you can contribute.
Keep the Boat Clean
Even before diving into the water, you want to be sure that your boat is also on the up and up. Keep track of all trash, bags, and plastic bottles, so they don’t fall into the water. Also, avoid the leakage of any cleaning products.
One of the easiest things you can do to protect the environment is to scuba dive without touching any plants or animals under the water’s surface. Doing so could cause some pretty serious long-term effects. Avoid this by maintaining buoyancy control so you can avoid crashing into any marine life. At SPE Dive School, we can show you how to do just that.
Watch Your Sunscreen
We all want to be protected from the sun, but when sunscreen leaks into the water, it can be deadly for the sea life. It is okay to wear some sunscreen to protect yourself but don’t overdo it, and if you do wear it, be extra careful about not touching the reef or fish.
Avoid Bothering the Animals
Remember that when you scuba dive, you are not there to interact but to observe. Avoid the urge to chase after sea life as doing so can add unneeded stress to the creatures. You also want to avoid feeding the animals because that could interrupt their natural nutrient balance. You may also find the need to take pictures of the fish. This is fine to do, but avoid getting too close as a bright flash can chase the marine life away from their nesting spots and can even cause blindness.
At SPE Dive School, we love scuba diving and we love exploring the sea. That’s why we do our best to remain eco-friendly during every dive. Contact us today by calling 301-657-2266 to learn more about our beginner scuba diving classes!
Before you look to take your scuba diving to the next level, the first step is knowing how to enjoy your new adventure as safely as possible. You can start by checking out these five helpful safety devices.
The last thing you would want to imagine is getting lost while scuba diving, but if you have the right equipment then that idea is not quite as scary. That is why you should always have a good GPS system. This smart device is capable of sending your GPS signal miles away so any number of boats can be at your rescue should you need it.
Another safety item that you should not be without is a good emergency strobe. The strobe offered by Tektite is easy to use, it emits a light that can be seen from over a mile away, and it can burn for over 100 hours on three C batteries.
If you ever come back up to the surface, only to find that your boat is gone, you will be glad to have a signaling sausage on you. This reflective strap floats to the top of the water and flashes in the sun, becoming visible up to a half a mile away.
While there is a chance that a rescuer could miss a flashing sausage, it’s hard to dismiss a loud air horn. Audible from a mile away, a good air horn will clip between your power inflator and your hose and is very easy to use in a pinch.
One of the most fundamental safety precautions you can have is also the most helpful in a time of need, and that is a good alert flag. It’s easily stowed when attached to a D-ring or in a buoyancy-compensator pocket and it’s easy to grab whenever you need it.
For absolute safety, you would be wise to bring at least one or two of these safety items with you during your next dive. If you want to learn more about these devices or you want to know anything else about scuba diving, contact us at the SPE Dive School so we can teach you everything there is to know.
Whether you are a beginner or a veteran diver, chances are you have been caught in a strong current at some point in time. There are two schools of thought when it comes to strong currents: some people are terrified at the idea of being stuck in a current they can’t control and others enjoy the feeling of gliding effortlessly while enjoying the underwater world.
Whatever your thoughts on currents may be, there are certain factors to keep in mind to be sure that you remain safe.
Don’t fight against the current
It is important to remember that if you are caught in a current, you should not fight against it. Doing so will just make you exhausted, and if the current lasts for a continuous amount of time, it could cause trouble. Instead, consider riding out the current. Most currents are short lived, and you might enjoy the chance to steer yourself through the water.
Get out of the way
You want to do the best you can to get out of the way of the current. You can do this by trying to seek shelter behind a reef or a rock, as this will keep you out of the current’s direct path. If there isn’t much around, try to swim towards the bottom as the current usually isn’t as strong towards the ocean floor.
You can also take a cue from the fish! Fish are used to being caught in currents, so they know where to go to get out of danger. Try to mimic and follow them when possible.
Remember to breathe
When you find yourself trapped in a current, it is important to stay calm. Pace your breathing and always keep an eye on your gauges. If you get dragged down or up, be prepared to inflate or dump air quickly.
If you are boat diving and you find that you are quickly being swept down current from the boat, lose any excess weight and try to regain buoyancy as soon as possible. The sooner you can alert the boat’s staff of your issues, the better.
These safety measures that are taken when caught in a current are just one of the many lessons you will learn when you take classes at SPE Dive School. We encourage all new divers to take our beginners course so you can be ready to take on any dive and offer advanced and specialty classes as well. Call us at 301-657-2266 today to learn more about our scuba dive school!
Oh no! Your trusty diving tank has failed hydrostatic or visual testing. What do you do now? Do you toss it? Why not think creatively and reuse your old diving tank to make something new and unique, or earn some extra money? Read on for a few ideas.
Turn old diving tanks into cash
Even if your tank isn’t usable for diving, you may be able to remove and sell the valves, or sell the entire tank for scrap metal. When in doubt, bring it to a local dive shop, where the staff may know how to reuse it.
Turn old diving tanks into bookends
Whether you collect books about diving or are just an all-around bookworm, old diving tanks make great bookends.
Use old diving tanks as a base for a one-of-a-kind lamp
Just flip the switch to bring back old diving memories. For other styles of tank lamps, visit Etsy!
Display flowers in a diving tank vase
Upcycled diving tanks make great vases. You can either buff your old tank to a high shine, or leave it rough for an industrial-chic touch.
Show the world your old diving tank
Your neighbors will know how much you love to dive when you turn your old tank into a fun mailbox, complete with a diver-down flag.
If you’ve always wanted to try diving but haven’t yet had the chance, or if you’ve gone underwater a few times and are craving more, try a class at SPE Dive School. We’ve been teaching people the art and science of diving in the DC metro area since 1972. Join us for your next adventure!
If you’ve taken a few classes at SPE Dive School, chances are you’ve learned to love scuba diving. Perhaps you love it so much you’re thinking of purchasing your own wetsuit! Your wetsuit is your first line of defense against the elements, so it pays to know a few facts before purchasing your first wetsuit.
Make sure your wetsuit is the right fit
Your wetsuit should fit tightly, but not so tightly that it’s hard to put on or restricts circulation. Make sure you’re able to bend at the waist and touch your toes with the zipper fully engaged. This movement shouldn’t cause any constriction at the neck. If it does, your suit is too tight.
When buying a wetsuit, choose the stitch for you
Many “bargain” wetsuits use a type of stitching called overlock stitching, which can be uncomfortable against the skin and can sometimes let water seep through. The blind stitch is the best-quality construction, but can be expensive. If you’re on a budget, try something in between these two extremes. For example, flatlock stitching is quite comfortable and is reasonably good at keeping out water, especially when the suit’s seams are taped.
If you’re planning on diving primarily in warm waters, a “shorty” wetsuit (one where the arms and legs end at the elbows and knees) may work for you. If you’re diving in colder climates or are particularly cold-sensitive, a longer and/or thicker suit will be better for you.
Want to learn more about diving? Try a class at SPE Dive School. We’ve been teaching people the art of diving in the DC metro area since 1972. Join us for the adventure of a lifetime!
If you love scuba diving, or are interested in trying it for the first time, you might think that your dive location and the sights you see are the most important parts of the experience. Not so! Far more important than either of these elements is the condition of your scuba diving gear. Poorly maintained gear can be dangerous, not to mention uncomfortable. For a safe, comfortable and enjoyable dive that lets you focus on the wonders of the underwater world, make sure to maintain your scuba diving gear in good condition.
Your regulator is your life support system, providing you with oxygen during your dives. For that reason, it’s absolutely essential that you take it to a reputable dive shop at least once a year to have it serviced. Even if you only went on a couple of dives during that period, the regulator’s many parts can deteriorate in time, so service it annually no matter how often you dive.
These come in either aluminum or steel. Aluminum tanks are more durable, but keep an eye out for dents and corrosion, and get valve service on an annual basis. For steel tanks, watch for rust. If you see any rust, a dive shop can take care of it with a composite rinse.
Buoyancy compensator devices
Each year, check to make sure your inflator is working properly, with no leaks, and that the washers that secure the valves and inflator are tightened.
Ready to give scuba driving a try? If you’re in the Washington, DC area and would like to book a scuba class, call SPE Dive School today at 301-657-2266!
If you’re experiencing ear pain on your dives, you need to improve your equalizing technique. This important skill prevents ear pain by (you guessed it) equalizing the pressure in your middle ears with the pressure around you. Your middle ears are connected to your throat by means of your Eustachian tubes, which are normally closed. Opening them is the key to equalizing. Read on for a few easy tips.
Listen for the pop
Swallow a few times. You should hear a slight pop about every other swallow. This is the way to naturally open your Eustachian tubes.
Get ready to equalize during your dive a few hours before. Chewing gum is a great way to encourage the above mentioned pop and open those tubes, allowing higher-pressure air from the throat to access the inner ears.
Air rises up the Eustachian tubes, and mucus flows downward. When you descend feet-first, you make it easier to equalize.
Use a descent line
Descending an anchor or mooring line helps you accurately control your descent rate and makes equalizing easier.
If it hurts, don’t do it
If you’re having a particularly hard time equalizing, come up. Your ears are delicate, and pushing through pain can damage them.
To learn more about equalizing, along with all the ins and outs of diving, call SPE Dive School at 301-657-2266 to book a diving lesson today! We’ve helped many new and experienced divers in the DC area have fun, rewarding diving experiences.
Do you love to scuba dive but haven’t been diving in a while? Before you head back out to sea, consider taking a tune up/refresher course. Here are some of the top reasons why a tune up course will help you make the most of your dive.
Jog your memory
Like everything we learn, your scuba diving knowledge will fade over time if you don’t brush up on your skills every once in a while. If you don’t remember the answer to questions like “What should I do if I’m separated from my buddy?” or “What if I run low on air?” or “What should I do if I’m caught in a current?” then you are sure to benefit from a refresher course. The professionals who teach tune up courses will bring you back up to speed.
Work out the kinks
Many divers who have been inactive for a while often forget correct procedures and end up developing bad habits. If you’re anxious about any skills, taking a refresher course gives you the perfect opportunity to practice in a controlled environment. The watchful eye of a pro can also help iron out any bad habits you’ve picked up over the years.
Test your equipment
If your equipment hasn’t been used in a while, then it’s a good idea to test it out before you use it again. The last thing you want is to be out at sea and realize there is something wrong with your equipment! The professional running your course will be able to help you identify and address any issues you may be having with your equipment.
Here at SPE Dive School we offer tune up courses to help you brush up on your skills! Check out our course calendar to sign up!
A dive light, also known as a dive torch, is an essential piece of scuba diving gear. The light is a must for night dives, and extremely helpful for exploring cracks and crevices during day dives. There are many different dive lights on the market, so before you make the investment be sure you know what to look for.
Check the label
Look for lights that are labeled water-tight and pressure-proof, and avoid lights labeled waterproof. “Waterproof” lights may resist water, but they will not withstand the pressure of deep submersion on a dive. Lights that aren’t pressure-proof are prone to cracking under pressure, which is the last thing you want to deal with on a dive!
Use rechargeable batteries
Dive lights require a lot of power to maintain a bright shine, which means they burn through batteries quickly. Using rechargeable batteries will help save you money and avoid wasting regular batteries.
Choose the right bulb
Without the bulb, there’s no light, so choosing the right one is essential. There are lots of different bulbs out there, so it comes down to preference and priority. Tungsten and halogen bulbs cost less, but they require more batteries and give off dimmer light. HIDs and LEDs are more expensive, but they are more efficient. For example, a 10-watt HID generates the same light as a 50-watt halogen, but it uses only 20 percent of the power.
To learn more about scuba diving and proper scuba diving equipment, check out SPE Dive School! We train and certify all levels of divers from the Washington, DC metro area, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia.
Scuba diving is an amazing and fun way to explore the world underwater and get a little exercise in! If you’re new to scuba diving, make sure to take some beginner classes. Once you know the basics, you can take your diving adventures to the next level and learn to adapt to different dive environments!
There’s nothing quite like night diving – the colors are more vivid set against the darkness of the ocean at night, and you’re sure to see amazing sights, as there is some marine life that only comes out at night! The darkness can be incredible, but it’s also very different and can be intimidating.
To adapt properly, your lighting equipment will be of the utmost importance. You’ll want to have two torches – one primary and one backup – and attach a light to your tank so that your dive buddy can easily spot you. Make sure your buddy is an experienced night diver who can show you the ropes.
When you drift dive, you use the energy of the currents around you to dive and drift with the water without using a lot of energy. Though it can be relaxing, you must be an experienced diver to attempt it. Research the area in advance and check the weather forecast frequently so you know what kind of conditions to expect. And make sure to have a reef hook handy so you can anchor yourself if need be.
Cave diving is the ultimate adventure! Explore underwater passageways and marvel at different cave formations. But don’t go it alone! Diving with an experienced buddy or group is best. Analyze the passageways carefully before attempting them, and make sure to have proper lighting for dark corners and tunnels.
Get started with beginner classes at SPE Dive School so you can advance to diving in these unique environments!
New to scuba diving? Welcome to a whole new world! Scuba diving is not only a great hobby and exercise, but it opens up the entire underwater world for you to see. Whether you’re a novice diver or a pro, staying sharp when you dive is important, so here are some tips on how to make sure your gear stays secure while you dive.
Diving isn’t an activity you can just do after jumping into a wet suit—you’ll need a number of tools and items with you underwater. If your scuba suit doesn’t have any pockets, add a few on. You can thread a pouch through your BCD, or secure one around your waist. A pocket or pouch is a great spot to keep flashlights, a spare mask, and any other accessories you need during the dive.
Securing a d-ring to your weight belt or tank strap will give you an extra spot to hook accessories, too. If you’re diving with a camera, or a basket to haul out some treasures, a d-ring is a great spot. You don’t want to drop something important and lose it in the reef, so keeping everything secure is important.
A lanyard is another way to secure your items while you dive, because they’ll keep things secure that you usually hold in your hand. But make sure that whatever accessories you’re bringing with you won’t dangle too low and damage the environment.
If you’ve never dived before, or if you need a refresher course before you head out on a diving trip, SPE Dive School offers scuba lessons in the Washington, D.C. area! We teach frequent open water scuba certification courses for beginners and advanced divers.
Discover scuba at SPE Dive School. Click here to learn about our classes, and call us today at 301-657-2266 to reserve your spot!
There are some people who are under the assumption that they need to invest hundreds and, in some cases, even thousands of dollars in order to start scuba diving. This myth couldn’t be further from the truth! When you work with a company like SPE Dive School, you can start scuba diving right away without spending a fortune on scuba equipment. This isn’t the only myth about scuba diving that exists, either. Here are five other common myths:
You need to be a competitive swimmer to keep up in scuba diving
Being a strong swimmer will certainly help you when scuba diving. But many people believe you need to be an excellent swimmer to start scuba diving in the first place. This isn’t true. As long as you have some experience swimming and don’t mind learning how to swim with all of your scuba gear, you will be just fine when you get into the water.
You can’t scuba dive if you have a medical condition
There are some medical conditions that will prevent you from scuba diving. But there are others, like asthma and diabetes that are no longer the roadblocks they used to be when it comes to scuba diving. You may need to take extra precautions because of them, but by working with your doctor, you can figure out which conditions will keep you out of the water and, more importantly, which ones won’t.
You will damage your ears if you scuba dive
If you don’t equalize the pressure in your ears before doing a deep dive while scuba diving, you may feel some discomfort in them. But this is an easy fix. By using what’s called the Valsalva maneuver and blowing against your nostrils while pinching your nose, you can provide yourself with some relief and avoid any uncomfortable feelings in your ears.
You have to be a man to scuba dive
What?! This one might be the worst myth of all. While many scuba divers were men many years ago, there are men and women who enjoy scuba diving in 2017. Regardless of your gender, you will enjoy it once you try it.
You can get the same experience snorkeling as you would scuba diving
Snorkeling can be a lot of fun. But make no mistake about it: Snorkeling and scuba diving are not one in the same. Scuba diving will allow you to experience something completely different than snorkeling will. So if you’ve only ever been snorkeling, you should open yourself up to the new experience that scuba diving will provide.
Would you like to give scuba diving a try? Register for classes with SPE Dive School or call us at 301-657-2266 for more information on how we can help you start scuba diving today!